God's Word First International Biblical Research & Teaching Ministry with Minister Daniel Sweet
"God's Word
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Gay Rights, God Bashing and the California Proposition 8 Gay Marriage Debate
by Daniel Sweet

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A good friend of mine got into an argument the other day with a supporter of gay marriage rights. My friend is a Christian, and as such maintains very strong opinions opposing gay marriage in California... or anywhere else for that matter. The issue became very heated with name calling, hurt feelings and even a death threat issued toward my well meaning friend!

Not a blessed event to say the least.

Trying to make sense of it all, my friend came to me and said, "When do you stay in the fight to stand for God and when do you stop?  It seems people don't listen to your side anyways and when people start name calling (or saying they want to "stone" you), I just get angry.  I never stoop to that level, but I just can't stay around to hear the anger and bitterness.  It seems to no longer be about an adult debate but a bashing of Godly people.  This is nothing new, especially in the end times as I believe we are.  But do we stay in the fight or is it pride?  What is the best way to end the conversation?  I try to be a "witness" but at times feel like I just may end up striking a chord of anger myself."

After careful consideration, and seeking God's wisdom
on the matter, I gave my response:

As you well know, there is a spiritual war raging. Good vs. evil and we are smack in the middle. Right now, in our country, the whole gay marriage issue is one of the primary battle grounds. As Christians, we are waging a fair war using a rule book, the Bible. Our adversary has no rules, only the inner urge to steal, kill and destroy.

There are many aspects to consider in the gay marriage debate. God says it’s wrong; man should not lay with another man the way he lays with women. Same goes for women with other women. God also says that we should pray for and support our governmental leaders obeying the laws that they pass as long as those laws do not contradict God’s laws.

If Prop 8 was a law that forces us to comply by entering into a gay marriage then we should vehemently oppose and disobey it. But the proposition is that gay marriage be legal for those who make the personal choice to engage in it. Therefore, it does not directly affect us as Christians in our walk with God by choosing heterosexuality. You see, the adversary is being very clever on this point.

From a strictly legal standpoint, the passing of California Proposition 8 is discriminatory. From God’s position, the passing of Prop 8 is righteous.

The conflict arises when we as Christian believers play right into the hand of the adversary by trying to force our opinions upon others who are non-believers. The adversary knows that Christians cannot win this particular battle because God values free will choice above all else. When Christians violate the free will of another person, then that believer’s actions will not be supported by God because we are actually going against God’s word. Sounds like a contradiction but allow me to explain.

I do realize that God expects us to take a stand for that which is good, righteous and true, but we are not to go around picking fights about it. We are to present ourselves as living examples of God’s Word in action. We stand for truth, but we do not hinder another’s free will decisions.

Free will is the real issue here.

• God valued free will so highly that he allowed his #1 angel in charge, Lucifer, the free will decision to oppose him, wage war in heaven, and completely destroy all of God’s creation taking 1/3 of the angels to hell with him in the process.

• God valued free will so highly that he allowed Adam the choice of disobedience to walk away from paradise, after his own desires, taking his entire prodigy (future mankind) with him.

• God values free will so highly that he allowed selfish, contentious, evil people to put his own son to death.

So who are WE to impede the free will choice of another, even if it leads them to their own death and damnation, when God himself would not do it?

Think about it. Really consider this in its entirety. It comes down to love and respect. Ask yourself, when you are witnessing to someone, are you concerned about that persons' freedom and well being… or are you more concerned about being right? I can’t answer that for you, nor am I judging; do some soul searching and answer that honestly for yourself.

So, to directly answer your question, “When do you stay in the fight to stand for God and when do you stop?”  My advice is to not get in the fight to begin with. Yes we are in a war to the very end, but we do not need to engage in every battle. Our time to take up arms is coming, as outlined in the Book of Revelation. Christ never went around picking fights, but when someone picked a fight with him, he did not back down. He usually responded by asking a question that diffused the situation.

Here’s an example from Matthew 21:23-27: Jesus went into the temple area. While Jesus was teaching there, the leading priests and the older leaders of the people came to Jesus. They said to Jesus, "Tell us! What authority do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?" Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question too. If you answer me, then I will tell you what authority I have to do these things. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people?"

The priests and the Jewish leaders talked about Jesus' question. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn't you believe John?' But we can't say John's baptism was from someone else. We are afraid of the people, because they all believe that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We don't know {where John's authority came from}." Then Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you what authority I have to do these things!"

Notice how Christ did not engage in their anger nor did he actually defend himself. But he certainly proved his point and shut them up!

Jesus Christ himself would not engage in arguments with people influenced by the adversary. Christ would either ask a question to stump them, tell a hypothetical story (a parable) to explain his position or simply quote scripture and walk away.

Prior to starting his public ministry, when he was fasting in the wilderness, the devil himself spoke directly to Christ, tempting him, trying to reason with him into considering his words. Christ did not ignore the devil, but he did not engage in conversation with him either.

DO NOT underestimate the power, clarity and guile of the adversary; if Christ would not go up against the devil and his minions, then neither should we. But like I said earlier, our day is coming when we will be like Christ as he is now in his risen form, bestowed with great power. We will wage war with them all… and we will be victorious. It is written. So it shall be. The devil knows this, and he’s scared.

As supporters of God’s word, when we see someone engaging in something contrary to God’s word, we are to love the person, but hate the act. Meaning, it is not within our power or jurisdiction to judge people, but at the same time we are not to condone their actions turning a blind eye. We are obligated to make that person aware of their transgression then allow them the free will choice to make their own decisions. If they become defensive or abusive, then shake the dust from your shoes and walk away. If they request more information or your help, then take them under your wing. Ultimately it’s their life and their choice.

Know that people are watching you as God’s representative and as an example of Christianity. Your actions determine their reactions. If you find yourself in a conflict, do a “check up from the neck up”. Step back for a second to look at it from another perspective. Ask yourself, “How did it start and what could I have done differently?”

Take responsibility for the situation. By taking responsibility, you are not admitting defeat; you are actually taking passive control. When you are in passive control of a conflict, you will win it every time.

Nobody, not even the devil, can prevail against grace, mercy and wisdom.

Christ always stayed in control of every situation. The quickest way to lose control of an argument is to be on the defensive. Learn from the experience, grow, and prosper.

If you find yourself in a heated conflict, the best way out is to take control by stating you obviously have a difference in opinion and that you see no profit for either of you in being upset and/or fighting over it. Graciously wish them the best in their life, say goodbye and don’t look back even if they continue shouting insults and obscenities in a vain attempt to regain control.

They will feel like a loser by you walking away from them. You appear to on lookers to have taken the high road. If they continue the fight after you left, they will look small and petty to others. Once again, they lose and you win. It’s a matter of passive control and choosing to walk away from the negative energy of an abusive non-believer to walk toward the positive energy of a person who welcomes your attention.

May God bless you abundantly for your stand on His glorious word of truth. You are truly God’s best!

 

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Pastor Daniel Sweet of God's Word First Christian Ministry

Daniel Sweet is a biblical scholar and an expert on the subject of Leadership. He served 8 years on the Board of Directors for The Association of Christian Fellowships, a worldwide biblical research ministry and served as acting Vice-President four of those years. Daniel Sweet and his wife, Debbra Sweet, were in charge of the North San Diego County Region of in home fellowships for ACF. They have overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships and have been instrumental in helping many people come to the knowledge and truth of God’s Word. Pastor Daniel Sweet is the founder and President of God's Word First Christian Ministry

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